A spate of attacks on Lothian buses have led to the arrest of 18 people, with one incident involving a brick flying through the window and landing in the buggy/wheelchair area.

Police Scotland said they have been proactively patrolling Edinburgh as part of 'Operation Proust', aiming to tackling "youth disorder" directed at Lothian buses.

On Monday, five youths from across the city had been identified and charged for bus related offences.

Officers said they had also engaged with over 100 young people during the course of the weekend - speaking to them about the dangers associated with throwing objects at buses.

Sergeant Grant Robertson said: "We will continue our efforts to tackle this issue and work closely with our partners.

"We ask parents and guardians to speak to children under their care about the dangers associated with throwing objects at buses, tampering with the engine compartment and holding onto the rear of the buses while both stationery and in motion.

"This behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

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On Monday night, eight buses in two different areas of Edinburgh were attacked with rocks. 

Lothian Buses subsequently suspended services on Gilmerton Road and Old Dalkeith Road between 19.25 and 20.50 on Monday.

Services were also suspended into Clermiston for a weekend following a serious attack in Drumbrae on 5 March.

The driver, who wished to remain anonymous, explained he couldn't sleep after the incident.

He said: "I saw a youth coming to my side and he banged the side of the bus.

"Then I could see the rock coming towards my driver's window and it just shattered."

He added: "That night I couldn't sleep. I kept hearing the noises, the bang especially.

"Normally, I am a very confident person but this has wiped me out and even the thought of going on a bus is now causing me quite big problems."

Sarah Boyd, Operations Director, Lothian said: “Our drivers have played a critical part in keeping services operating for key workers and those that require to make essential journeys across the last 12 months and it is extremely disappointing that we are being targeted at various locations across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

She added that "the safety of our drivers and customers remains our absolute priority and we will not hesitate to take similar action again if necessary."

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The removal of services follows the launch of a city-wide initiative being run jointly between Police Scotland and Lothian Buses in response to escalating antisocial behaviour directed towards both the drivers and the vehicles. 

Inspector Jonny Elliott from Drylaw Police Station said: “Bus drivers have and continue to provide an essential service to the public during this pandemic, including transport to and from hospitals. It is disgraceful that those who have continued to support our communities have been targeted in this way.

'Appalling actions'

“This type of reckless behaviour will not be tolerated and dedicated officers will be on patrol in the area to make sure the buses can operate safely.

“Nobody should be outwith their homes, besides from essential purposes, and anyone caught engaging in antisocial behaviour or violence will be dealt with robustly.

“Extensive enquiries are ongoing to trace the individuals involved in the recent incidents and I would appeal to anyone with information to contact Police Scotland through 101. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “It’s incredibly disappointing to hear reports of antisocial behaviour, vandalism and, indeed, criminal activity on our buses and trams over recent weeks.

“These appalling actions are completely unacceptable at any time but right now, during an extremely difficult period for the city, they are putting even more pressure on those carrying out an indispensable service for people who live here. This must be so frightening for drivers, and passengers making essential journeys – I would ask anyone with information relating to these incidents that can help Police Scotland track down those responsible to come forward as a matter of urgency. If you suspect a member of your family is involved please take this very seriously and help us to prevent any further incidents.”

If anyone has any information in relation to this behaviour, please contact Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.